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About Tom Anderson
My day job is science, but I have always had an interest in writing fiction and in history, and it’s probably not surprising that those all end up crossing over. Alternate history is a genre devoted to exploring the ‘what ifs’ of history, a recent high-profile example being the Amazon adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s seminal “The Man in the High Castle”. However, much of the interest to me comes in areas rather more obscure and subtle than the now-overdone ‘the Nazis win WW2’ type scenarios, and in exploring how different the world can become from a tiny change, as in the ‘For Want Of A Nail’ poem. My longest AH scenario, “Look to the West”, is about a king tripping on his coronation carpet, which ultimately leads to America staying British, industrialised Maori New Zealand and a steam-driven French Revolution, for instance. Straightforward science fiction and fantasy also remains a major love of mine and an area I am increasingly writing more in. Most of my works have been published by Sea Lion Press (please like their page as well!). In 2018 my co-writer Bruno Lombardi and myself were nominated for the prestigious Sidewise Award for Alternate History for our short story “N’Oublions Jamais”, about a very different First World War, which was published in the Martinus anthology “Altered Europa”.
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What if they weren't? What if Canada had won its independence in 1837? What if the Taiping rebels had formed their own country in China? What if Trinidad revolted against the British in the 1930s? What if a Socialist Commune arose in East Sussex?
In this collection of 13 short stories, the authors of Sea Lion Press explore the revolutions that never happened.
This is the calm before the storm, the age of remembered glory, the beautiful time. But all good things must end.
The Unreformed Kingdom explores a very different, yet oddly familiar, Britain of a 2015 in which you can download an app to watch public executions, many MPs still represent rotten boroughs, and your religion determines your right to vote. Along the way, we meet some surprising figures from our own world, such as Jacob Rees-Mogg, the dangerously modernising Leader of the Tory Opposition, the intellectual patrician American Ambassador George W. Bush, and Jeremiah Clarkson, the controversial Mayor of Doncaster. Will the attitudes of the past rule over this land forever, or is there hope for the cause of liberty from a very unexpected source?
This edition includes a new appendix describing the historical background to the setting and the events leading up to the world of 2015.
“I read this all the way through in one go because I couldn't stop. A really interesting timeline with some good points about how history works and lots of moments where I nearly fell off my chair.”
“A superb thought-experiment counter to historical determinism.”
“Really engaging and a very well-crafted universe defying established ideas.”
“A wonderfully witty read.”
But some things are inevitable. America is still politically divided, tensions rising between the slaveholding Confederation of Carolina and the northern provinces. Tensions mount in Europe over the question of German unification. Charismatic leaders lead revolts in India and West Africa. One spark in restive California ignites the Great American War. For America is not the only great power in the New World; the United Provinces of South America is drawn into the vast, bloody conflict that will reshape the world.
And down there in the UPSA, a man named Pablo Sanchez writes of the absurdity of war and the united destiny of humanity, and finds he is making converts…
Look to the West Volume IV: Cometh the Hour… comes complete with over a dozen maps, flags and other graphics to accompany the story, as well as full appendices and an accompanying chronology.
What if Rome had never fallen?
What if the Soviet Union sent a man to Mars?
What if the Austrian Empire reigned supreme?
What if Ireland had fought for their independence in the 1860’s?
What if World War III had struck in the 1980’s?
These and many more scenarios are explored in Altered Europa!
Featuring stories by William Rade, Sam Kepfield, Dan Gainor, Dave D’Alessio, Bruno Lombardi, Tom Anderson, Cyrus P. Underwood, Alex Shalenko, Charles Wilcox, Tim Moshier, DJ Tyrer, Deborah L. Davitt, Mark Mellon, Ryan McCall, Mike Jansen,
Murray Braun, Sergio Palumbo, Ben Prewitt, Martin T. Ingham, & Michael McAndrews Bailey.
There’s a whole genre of literature devoted to Alternate History, where all these questions of “What If?” are addressed. There’s one What If question that hasn’t been addressed.
“What if I decided to write an Alternate History book? How would I go about that?” That has been a question without an answer.
But what if one tiny slight—a trip on a coronation carpet, a misplaced laugh—had tipped George II over the edge and he had made good on his threat? What if, in the year George Washington was born, the American colonies had found themselves home to an exiled Prince stripped of his inheritance? And what if that Prince had ambitions to reclaim his birthright by any means necessary, including with the help of his colonial subjects…?
The Look to the West series begins with the story of Frederick and the very different America that results from his exile, but it is a tale that encompasses the whole world. Every action we take has unforeseen impacts: a revolutionary South America, a defeated Prussia, a divided India, a European Enlightenment transformed by phlogiston theory, Cugnot steam engines and Linnaeus’ Theory of Evolution. Diverge and Conquer covers the history of this world from the time of Frederick to the era when Europe is torn apart by a French Revolution very different to the one we know—and hints at a mysterious future to come…
Global disaster strikes as an asteroid impact causes a megatsunami in the Indian Ocean and the eruption of the Yellowstone Supervolcano in the United States. The people of the world, reeling from the blow, struggle to survive.
But this is not the present day. This is the year 1886, a crucial moment in time for everything recognisable about our lives. Socialists riot in Chicago, the Irish Question topples British governments, African borders are drawn by ambitious imperialists. Inventions like the car, the electric lightbulb and even Coca-Cola are just dawning. This is an age where the rich still rule but the poor are making their voice heard, when it is still considered the birthright of the white man of Europe and America to dominate the world. Names that would score the pages of history, from Theodore Roosevelt to Mr Marks and Mr Spencer, are but young men ready to rise to a challenge.
How will that society respond to a cataclysm that threatens to plunge the world into eternal winter? Find out in The Twilight’s Last Gleaming.
The Curse of Maggie is the tale of another history, a history where our memories of the last three decades are hauntingly familiar yet subtly different, their events shaped by the decisions of many more men and women at the apex of power — but never for very long.
- “Loved every chapter”
- “Just the right mix of familiarity and surprise...delivered the surprise element in a believable way”
- “A very enjoyable read. Not too predictable either. I liked it a lot.”
- “A cut above”
- “A great read”
The year is 1800. The French Revolutionary Wars rage across Europe but as you have never seen them before. In Paris, Jean de Lisieux, L’Administrateur of the French Latin Republic, plots to reshape the world in his own image by the dark light of perverted science. Legions of conscripts man steam-driven warships and cannons, experimental balloons, rocket batteries. Enemies of the state choke to death in phlogiston chambers. A network of semaphore towers ties the armies of the Republican Empire to the dictator at its heart. As Jacobin soldiers subdue Spain, the German and Italian states and Lisieux’s hand stretches as far afield as Haiti, Australia and India, can any country escape his grasp? The last hope for peace in Europe lies with the French Royalist government of Louis XVII and his Prime Minister, Napoleon Bonaparte.
Meanwhile, the Americas too are engulfed in flames as the exilic princes of Spain attempt to hold onto their ancestral empire in Mexico, only to be confronted by the two titans of the New World, the Empire of North America and the United Provinces of South America. China, also, is consumed by civil war and Japan falls ever deeper under the domination of the Russo-Lithuanian Pacific Company and its maverick leader, Moritz Benyovsky.
The eyes of the world are held by these grand clashes of gunpowder and steam, but in one obscure Spanish village, a little boy is growing up whose ideas will one day divide the planet in a way which no one could have predicted.
The story of 'Look to the West' is far from over.
A group of alternate history authors try their hand at imagining different figures at the top of the British establishment. Be they Prime Ministers or something less conventional, the men and women in these pages inhabit very different worlds to that in which we live.
Could Britain have had a female PM much earlier in its history? Who might emerge to lead Britain from the ashes of a fascist dictatorship? If Militant had taken over the Labour Party, who might be in Downing Street today?
Sea Lion Press favourites including Jack Tindale and Ed Thomas are joined by newcomers in this volume of vignettes edited by Tom Black.